Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

House lawmakers hold hearing on sexual harassment in Congress

House lawmakers hold hearing on sexual harassment in Congress

Congressional leaders admitted the institution is highly vulnerable to the sexual harassment of staffers.

He called the hearing the first step in the House review of its policies on sexual harassment.

- Scandalous accusations were made against members of Congress during a House hearing for sexual harassment on Capitol Hill on Tuesday after a Congresswoman testified that some members have exposed themselves to staffers and sexually assaulted some victims on the House floor.

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier testified before a House committee on Tuesday that two current members, Democrat and Republican, have sexually harassed staff members, according to stories she's been told.

"What are we doing for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?" she asked.

"Whether it's Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, Mark Halperin, Roger Ailes, Kevin Spacey or one of our own, it's time to say no more", Comstock said at the House Administration Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

The Senate last week approved a resolution instituting mandatory harassment training for members and aides, a shift from the current voluntary standard.

"A young staffer had been asked to go to a member's residence to bring some documents and was greeted by a member in a towel who then brought her in and exposed himself and she left and she chose to quit the office and has moved on", Comstock said. They said sexual harassment might be pervasive among the thousands of women who work here, and they acknowledged they don't have the rules in place to stop it. Comstock said the staffer later left her job.

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She did not name the lawmakers mentioned in her testimony, citing the non-disclosure agreements she wants to eliminate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have now called on him to drop out of the race, while the editorial board of the Alabama Media Group branded him "grossly unfit for office".

"I strongly encourage you to complete sexual harassment training and to mandate the training for your staff".

One lawmaker, Republican Rodney Davis of IL, said that some female staffers in his office anxious that "some offices might take a shortcut and not hire women as a way to avoid these issues".

She also noted that cases between staff members and lawmakers are "very rare" and that mediation cases are overwhelmingly between two staff members. If a member of Congress has been accused, they receive a House lawyer to represent them for free while the accuser does not receive free counsel.

In the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, is proposing a bill that would streamline the reporting process in the Office of Compliance, the little-known office that handles such complaints.

"Leadership within each office is also important, and letting the employees know where they can go to complain is vitally important", Childs Wallace told lawmakers.

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